Sir Thomas Temple, 1st Baronet (January 1613/14 at Stowe, Buckinghamshire, England – 27 March 1674 at Ealing, Middlesex) was a British proprietor, governor of Acadia/ Nova Scotia (1657–70). In 1662, he was appointed a Baronet of Nova Scotia by Charles II.
He was the second son of Sir John Temple of Stanton Bury and his first wife Dorothy, daughter of Edmund Lee, and a grandson of Sir Thomas Temple, 1st Baronet, of Stowe. According to a pedigree compiled in the 17th century, Sir Thomas was a descendent of the renowned Lady Godiva of Coventry, however this descent was debunked by E. A. Freeman in the 19th century. Sir Thomas Temple was the great nephew of Lord Saye and Sele. Temple's cousins, Nathaniel Fiennes and John Fiennes were prominent supporter of parliament in the Civil War and members of Cromwell's Council of State. Both were appointed to Cromwell's House of Lords.
Sir Thomas Temple in North America
Soon after the starting of the unchartered Massachusetts Bay Colony colony mint, Charles II of England, with much anger questioned Sir Thomas Temple, who was the first agent officially dispatched by the General Court to London. King Charles asked why this American Colony presumed to invade His Majesty's rights by coining money. Then ensued a long discussion between the king and Sir Thomas on the Pine Tree shilling coinage.
The first trading post at present-day Jemseg, New Brunswick was built near the mouth of the Jemseg river in 1659 by Col. Thomas Temple. This was a fortified post convenient for trade with the Maliseet Indians.
Temple had his headquarters at Penobscot (present day Castine, Maine), keeping garrisons at Port Royal and at St. John. It was during this time that the La Tour fort at the mouth of the St. John River was abandoned in favour of a new fort at Jemseg, fifty miles or so up the river. At Jemseg, occupiers were put out of the way of seagoing pirates. Jemseg was also a better place to trade with the descending river Indians.
With the Treaty of Breda in 1667, in North America, Acadia was returned to France, without specifying what territories were actually involved on the ground. Thomas Temple, the proprietor, residing in Boston, had been given a charter by Cromwell, which was ignored in the treaty, and the actual handing off was delayed at the site until 1670.
Temple had governed Acadia for nine years, from the time he bought his rights from La Tour in 1656, until he was ordered by the British crown to hand over his rights to the French by the Treaty of Breda.
From 1667 to 1670 Temple lived in Boston and continued to seek recompense from the king for his expenses and losses in Nova Scotia.
He prospered after settling in Boston. He gained property there while still living in Nova Scotia, being very active in commerce, especially real estate. He was prominent among those who attempted to develop some of the Boston Harbor Islands, and he had leased Deer Island.
- cf, "The Islands of Boston Harbor", in "Some Events of Boston and Its Neighbors", Chapter 4, printed for the State Street Trust Company, Boston, Massachusetts, 1917.
"Deer Island was so called because deer often swam over from the mainland when chased by the wolves from Boston Neck. It was granted to Boston in 1634, and its use is too well known to require any description. It was leased at one time to Sir Thomas Temple, who was a descendant of Lady Godiva of Coventry fame, a rather curious relation to history for one of our islands to bear."
- Discussed by N W Alcock in Warwickshire Grazier and London Skinner (OUP, 1981, page 7)
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Sir Thomas Temple and Early American coinage. From "First New England Coinage", in "Some Events of Boston and Its Neighbors", Chapter 7, printed for the State Street Trust Company, Boston, Massachusetts, 1917.
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- "Temple, Thomas, 1614-1674. Correspondence concerning Nova Scotia: Guide". Houghton Library, Harvard College Library. There is much correspondence between Temple and his nephew, prominent Bostonian, John Nelson.
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